Tag Archives: Paramount Pictures

Cinema Dispatch: Rocket Man

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Rocketman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Dexter Fletcher

As much as I enjoy the music of Elton John, this movie has some serious hurdles to overcome, that has left me less than confident about it up to this point.  Primarily, the film feels from top to bottom like a cash-in following the success of the truly awful Bohemian Rhapsody; not just because it’s another biopic about a musician from roughly the same time period, but because they even got the pickup director of that film to make this one in its entirety.  Maybe that’s overstating things a bit as Dexter Fletcher does have a few other films under his belt, and it’s not like it’ll be THAT hard to be better than one of the worst movies of 2018, but let’s just say my expectations are firmly set to MEH right up until the very last minute.  Does this manage to stand out as the better of the two rock biopics from the Oldies station, or will the faults of Bohemian Rhapsody look downright quaint after seeing this movie?  Let’s find out!!

Elton John (Taron Egerton), also known as Reginald Dwight, is a rock and roll superstar with hit song after hit song over the last five decades, yet how many of us REALLY know about the man behind the music?  Well after storming his way into a substance abuse support group (decked out in full on Maleficent regalia in case you thought this was going to be subtle), he’s more than willing to tell us all about it!  Our story begins in the suburbs of Britain with him as a little boy starved for affection from his mother and father (Bryce Dallas Howard and Steven Mackintosh), when one day it turns out he’s a born piano player who can play songs from ear and hones his skills for many, many, years!  After a few stints playing back-up for a bunch of soul bands, he finally finds his break in the form of Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) who is a song writer in need of a musician which is just in luck because Mr. John over here needs a song writer to give meaning to his great music!  From there it’s a never ending thrill ride of overnight success, burgeoning sexuality, and the inevitable crash and burn when living the high life becomes indistinguishable from being an addict!  Will Elton John get his life back on track after losing so much to booze, pills, and drugs?  Can a musician of his immense popularity live his life openly as a gay man without shattering everything he’s worked so hard to build up?  Will we get answers to burning questions like who IS the Tiny Dancer, and why were those Crocodiles rocking?

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Wait, are the Jets in Bennie and the Jets actually JET PACKS!?

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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (Sonic the Hedgehog)

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Sonic the Hedgehog is owned by Paramount Pictures and all the images you see in this trailer talk are the property of their respective owners

Directed by Jeff Fowler

Tis a day that we have been all dreading for… I don’t know, two months now?  Yeah, it looks like those horrible production skills were not in fact a mistimed April Fools prank and were leading up to an actual movie whose trailer has just been released.  I’m not gonna lie.  Whether or not this actually ends up looking good or is total hot garbage is immaterial to me because I’m looking forward to this thing no matter what form it takes.  Will it be the former which would be unbelievably impressive considering they have to work around that rather awful design, or are we stuck with the latter which is exciting in its own right just to see what depths a studio will sink to when given this monkey’s paw of a franchise?  Well the only way we’re gonna find out is diving right on in!  Okay, so right off the bat we see a blue blur of energy streak by on some empty country road which then speeds through a forest into what looks to be Peter Rabbit’s hole in the ground.  The place is adorned with various pieces of trash and snack foods he’s managed to scrounge up over the years, a giant stack of shoes which becomes somewhat suspect when you realize he wears the same pair all the time, and a cassette player because I guess kids are supposed to know what that is?  Oh, and it gets better!  The song that Sonic pops into the player and scores the entire trailer is none other than Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise.

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I guess we’re officially past Eye of the Tiger being the go to inspirational music cue.  God, we’re all getting old…

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Cinema Dispatch: Pet Sematary

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Pet Sematary and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer

I don’t know about this one.  I mean I liked the original Pet Sematary and Stephen King adaptations in general, but the trailers are just not doing it for me.  For the most part I think I’m turned off by JUST how big of a tonal shift it is from a bright and colorful yet creepy tale of magic and grief into something that looks to be aping Hereditary which is doubly worrying considering the ONE BIG similarity between the two.  I have a certain limit when it comes to horror (mainly when you replace creepiness and suspense with misery and suffering), and I am not prepared to see a beloved classic from the eighties go down that same route just to chase a trend.  Still, even if the LOOK of the thing may be drastically different there’s still the original story which is quite well thought of for a reason, and I could just be looking at the original through rose tinted glasses.  I remember the movie in the broad strokes, but a lot of the nuance for me has been lost to time (it’s had to of been a decade at least since I saw it) and perhaps this one will do a great job of recreating all that I’ve forgotten about the original!  Wishful thinking perhaps, but there’s only one way to find out!!

The Creed family has just moved to a little out of the way country town in the middle of Maine (because nothing spooky ever happens THERE!) so that the father Louis (Jason Clarke) could take a less demanding job at a University hospital which will allow him to spend more time with his kids Ellie and Gage (Jeté Laurence and Hugo Lavoie/Lucas Lavoie) as well as his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) who’s already getting some bad vibes from this place right off the bat.  Eh, maybe it’s just nerves from her TRAGIC BACKSTORY that I’m sure will come into play later in the movie!  Anyway, Ellie learns about a place in the woods behind their house called the Pet Sematary where children (who don’t know how to spell) bury their dead pets in some sort of local ritual.  This is all well-known and expanded upon by the Creed family’s neighbor Jud (John Lithgow) who’s lived here all his life and may know even more about this place than he’s letting on.  Now as the family seems to finally be settling in, tragedy strikes as Ellie’s cat Churchill is hit by a truck on the road RIGHT outside the house (SEEMS A LITTLE BIT DANGEROUS IF YOU ASK ME!) and now Louis has to break the bad news to her which is not going to be pleasant, but Jud has an idea on maybe fixing this problem which may be more than just him being neighborly.  What kind secrets does this little town have that Jud can show Louis, and what will it end up costing the both of them in the process?  Will Louis be able to live with the knowledge that Jed is about to reveal, and what will happen in his own life to temp him to abuse this mysterious power?  Seriously, is that cat gonna get its own spinoff!?  The filmmakers are just in LOVE with that thing!

 

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“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. HIIIIISSSSSSS!!”

 

 

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Cinema Dispatch: Wonder Park

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Wonder Park and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by no one

So you’re telling me that there’s a movie in theaters right now where a sex pest had to leave the movie halfway through its tumultuous production, and it’s NOT Bohemian Rhapsody!?  Yes, it’s not a typo that I didn’t credit a director on this movie because the guy who at some point sat in that chair got booted off of it and got the added justice of having his name stripped from the credits; something that I’m sure Fox would have really liked to do for its movie before things got awkward at the Oscars.  Even before I knew any of that though, I was not looking forward to this considering how low rent and unappealing the trailers were which makes it all the more astounding that the darn thing cost upwards of a hundred million, so it seems pretty clear we’re in for a train wreck of epic proportions.  Does this movie miraculously stick the landing despite everything going against it, or are we just here to watch it flame out in spectacular fashion?  Let’s find out!!

June Bailey (Brianna Denski) is your typical millennial smarty pants who was basically raised her whole life on STEM related games; the main one being an imaginary park known as WONDER PARK with fantastical rides and a staff of talking animals that she and her mother (Jennifer Garner) would work on each night before bed.  Over time, June’s interest started to bleed out into the real world which started off rather dangerously with unsafe roller coasters made out of plywood and city property, but eventually she started to focus on smaller scale project with actual engineering behind them instead of trial and error until someone cracks their skull open.  However… something happens.  I’m not going to say WHAT because the trailers do a very good job of hiding what this movie is actually about, but there’s a tragedy that causes her to give up on her Wonder Park dreams, and since this is a Kid’s Movie the universe will not take such flagrant cynicism lying down!  Thorough the power of unexplained magic, June ends up in Wonder Park itself which is run by the loyal animal staff which includes Boomer the bear, Gus the beaver, Cooper the OTHER beaver, Greta the boar, and Steve the porcupine (Ken Hudson Campbell, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, Mila Kunis, and John Oliver), but has been left in disarray for some time now.  See, something happened to the park as well which brought THE DARKNESS upon them (I WONDER IF HER TRAGEDY AND THEIRS ARE SOMEHOW CONNECTED!?) that caused the guests to disappear and the stuffed animals to turn homicidal; taking the group’s leader Peanut (Norbet Leo Butz), a chimpanzee with a magic marker who made the rides June and her mother thought of.  So now June is stuck in the last place she wants to be with animal friends who are not very helpful and is now trying to fix an amusement park in order to save a chimp with magic powers from adorable abominations.  Sounds legit if you ask me!  Can June and her friends figure out how to get the park up and running again to banish the darkness once and for all?  Will this exercise in engineering splendor and stuffed animal homicide be just what June needs to confront her traumas once and for all?  Is it just me, or does this all sound pretty convoluted for a movie so clearly aimed at five year olds?

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“Okay, so is this The Darkness that gives you demonic powers, The Darkness that stains your new white couch, or The Darkness that fuels our deepest fears and anxieties?”     “I’m pretty sure it’s the last one, but I don’t think it’s fond of couches either.”

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Cinema Dispatch: What Men Want

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What Men Want and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Adam Shankman

Despite its connection to a notably popular movie, I hadn’t heard a lot about this film until it finally decided to come out like a week ago.  Sure, I knew that they were making it and that the film was going to be gender flipped, but beyond that this is yet another film that completely flew under the radar for me which now that I think of it PROBABLY makes some amount of sense as it would have had to of been marketed in the last few months; i.e. Oscar season followed by a very crappy January for me.  So is this movie a hidden gem that I just didn’t give the time of day until it was staring me right in the face, or did this movie actually get shunted down the release schedule priority list to quietly slink away after a hopefully decent opening weekend?  Let’s find out!!

Ali Davis (Taraji P Henson) is a sports agent working out of Atlanta and is one of the rock star employees at her… firm?  Is that the right word?  Anyway, she consistently does great work for the company but FOR SOME REASON keeps getting looked over when it’s time to promote someone to partner, but she isn’t afraid of uphill battles gosh darn it!  If a woman has to work twice as hard to get half the credit, well she’s just gonna work TEN times as hard!  Her goal is to hire this up and coming hot shot basketball player named Jamal Barry (Shane Paul McGhie) who could be big for the firm but has a very demanding father Joe ‘Dolla’ Barry (Tracy Morgan) who is demanding and demeaning at almost every turn and making life a living heck for Ali.  Clearly she needs to relax and perhaps learn to get into the mind of men instead of just trying to compete with them, which fittingly enough would make her compete with them better!  Good thing she’s got a bachelorette party to go to where there JUST SO HAPPENS to be a psychic with magic tea that will let her hear men’s thoughts!  Well it was either that or the crushing blow to the head she received later that night, but the point is that she wakes up the next morning and is able to hear the thoughts of all the men around her; including her assistant Brandon (Josh Brener) who is the only person she’s willing to confide in regarding this new power.  At first it seems like a curse but now that she can get into Joe and Jamal’s head to find out what they really want; not to mention the men in her office who have been quietly scheming against her from day one.  Will Ali be able to close this deal and finally get the job she’s always deserved?  Just how far will she go to succeed, and how many people will she have to hurt along the way while using these new abilities?  You’d think there’d be a lot more dudes singing random songs in the movie, but I guess you’d then have to license them all.

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“Really?  Nothing but Ninja Sex Party songs going on up there?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Bumblebee

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Bumblebee and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Travis Knight

The thing about Transformers, at least for me, is that it’s only ever existed as the Michael Bay movies.  I never watched the original series, any of its spin-offs, and I’ve only played one of the games, so if nothing else this movie has a rather low bar to clear if it wants to be considered “good”.  Now that said, it’s got some heavy competition right now what with the new Spider-Man movie not just being GOOD but PHENOMENAL, and there are plenty of others out right now that this isn’t gonna stack favorably against if it’s ONLY trying to be better than what Bay was putting out.  Still, it’s got a lot going for it what with Hailee Steinfeld AND the recently launched into the mainstream John Cena filling out the cast along with the Laika animation guy stepping in for Bay this time around.  Does this prequel manage to take this tired and overblown franchise in a fresh new direction, or is the engine underneath it still the same despite the shiny new coat of paint?  Let’s find out!!

Back in the long ago days of the late eighties (when Sony Walkmans walked the Earth), the war for Cybertron was reaching its peak as the Decepticons had pushed the Autobot rebels off the planet with little hope of taking it back.  The leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), has tasked B-127 (Dylan O’Brien) with scouting a far off planet that may serve as their new base of operations so they can regroup and finally stop the Decepticons once and for all; a desperate plan to be sure, but its not like anyone else is coming up wit ha better one.  So B-127 speeds off to Earth but was followed by a Decepticon warrior!  Oh no!  The ensuing battle leaves the Decepticon dead, but it leaves a few humans worse for wear including Super Solider from Sector 7 Jack Burns (John Cena) as well as B-127 ending up heavily damaged (even losing his voice in the process) and… I guess robo-hibernates for some time to recharge his batteries.  Some time passes (not sure if it’s months or years) and B-127 is found in a junkyard by Charlie Watson (Haille Steinfeld) who takes him home and manages to get him running again.  He wakes up, shows himself to be a robot to Charlie albeit it with no memories which were all damaged in the fight, and… I think he accidentally sets off some sort of tracking beacon that two Decepticons (Angela Bassett and Justin Theroux) a few planets away seem to have heard which conveniently gives us antagonists to fight against in the third act.  Until then, Charlie names B-127 Bumblebee and tries to teach him how to blend in the human world while also taking him for joy rides, prank wars, and emotional character arcs for both her and her new robot buddy who’s not sure who he is or what his place in this strange world is.  Will Charlie and Bumblebee learn to deal with their traumas and find a new lease on life by beating up robots and taking bullies down a peg?  What will John Cena do when he finds out the robot that nearly killed him is still functional, and will it involve the Five Knuckle Shuffle?  Wait a minute… finding a robot in a junkyard that was meant to fight off a hostile alien force but got lost along the way… isn’t this the plot to Megas XLR?

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“Chicks dig giant Bumblebees!”     “Some of us do, Bee.  Some of us do.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Overlord

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Overlord and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Julius Avery

I know World War II movies are pretty common during Oscar Season, but I still don’t think the Academy is gonna be looking towards this movie once voting begins.  One of these days there’ll be a zombie movie that takes home the gold, but until then we’ll just have to make do with what we’ve got which in this case actually looks pretty darn good!  I mean sure I’m not the BIGGEST JJ Abrams fan, even when it comes to stuff that he’s only producing and not directing, but he managed to turn Star Wars and Star Trek into sold movies for contemporary audiences, so maybe his outfit can do the same for World War II occult movies of which there’s actually a lot more than you’d think!  Will this be the movie exceed everyone’s expectations despite its seemingly low brow premise, or is this another example of a great idea failing to live up to its absurd potential?  Let’s find out!!

Private Ed Boyce (Jovan Adepo) is not what you’d call a happy camper.  He was just some guy living his life in peace, presumably doing his part for the war effort, and then one day Uncle Sam tells him to stop buying War Bonds because he’s going to stab some Nazi bastards himself!  At least he MIGHT get to do that if the plane he’s on doesn’t get shot down before they even get to where they’re going, but what are the chances of THAT happening?  Actually a lot higher than you think which leads to him and a few other stragglers including Ford, Tibbet, and Chase (Wyatt Russell, John Magaro, and Iain De Caestecker) to complete their mission all on their own.  Said mission is to get to a French church that’s been overtaken by Nazis and destroy the radio tower that’s been constructed there which is causing problems for the Allies, and they need to do it on the double!  Along the way they meet a civilian named Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier) who lives in the occupied village next to the church wants to scalp Nazis as much as most of them do, and so they must work together if they are to not only shut down that tower but free her village from the bastards who just love to kidnap the villagers when they aren’t outright shooting them dead in the streets.  If that wasn’t bad enough however, rumors have been flying about what else the Nazis might be up to in that Church and it’s surely something these soldiers are not the least bit prepared to deal with on top of the neigh impossible mission they’ve been saddled with.  Can our heroes take down that tower and stop whatever is going on in that Church (*cough* zombies *cough*) before it’s too late?  Is Private Boyce prepared to do what’s necessary to complete the mission, or will he buckle under the pressure of what he’s being asked to do for his country?  Is JJ Abrams STILL trying to pull that whole “mystery box” shtick even when the premise is THIS obvious and telegraphed!?

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“Those aren’t zombies!  Those are Killer Klowns from outer space!  Welcome to the Killer Klown Extended Universe!”

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